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Women PoV: Kolkata crowned as Safest City!

Kolkata has once again secured its position as India’s safest city for the third consecutive year. As per the recent National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, it has the lowest number of cognizable offences per lakh population compared to other major cities in India. Cognizable crimes encompass cases registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws (SLL).

Based on the NCRB’s 2022 annual report, Kolkata reported 86.5 cases of cognizable offences per lakh population, showcasing a notable achievement that positions it ahead of Pune (280.7 cases) and Hyderabad (299.2 cases).

Insights from Kolkata Residents:

On asking “how safe Kolkata is”, A security guard said ‘True to Life’ that Kolkata is now much safer than before. Girls can go out at night alone. Especially in the New Town area, while doing night duty, I have seen girls moving alone freely, and girls and boys also moving together. The amount of crime that happens in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities is much less in Kolkata. So Kolkata can be said to be safest from that point of view.

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Aditi, an independent woman who works in the IT sector in Kolkata told ‘True to Life’ on being asked what her view on NCRB’s report is, “I feel safe here. I hadn’t faced any such situations where I could call it unsafe, it’s safe. I have been to other cities as well, compared to Mumbai I think, cabs and transports are more available there but apart from transports, Kolkata is safer.”

But there are also some comments, where a shopkeeper at CIT Road, Kolkata told ‘True to Life’ “No, Kolkata is not safe for women. A lot of incidents happen every day which remain unnoticed.”
Jennie, an employee of an IT sector shared with TtL, “I reach home around 9.30. It is safe to walk alone in Kolkata when the crowd is there but it’s not safe when it’s an empty street. I still feel like someone is following me or some sort of eve-teasing will happen, so it’s not safe.”

Kolkata Police Initiatives for Women’s Safety

Previously, in 2018, Kolkata Police had introduced a group of female officers known as the Winners. Operating like sergeants on two-wheelers, they patrolled the city day and night, vigilantly monitoring and responding to street crimes, particularly those targeting women such as eve-teasing, molestation, and snatching. Equipped with communication devices to coordinate with authorities, the Winners had gained popularity among the city’s residents for their effective service.

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Following the success of the Winners initiative, Kolkata Police unveiled another unit called the Warriors. This squad was introduced through a Facebook post on December 24, 2019, and comprised specially trained female officers proficient in weaponry, unarmed combat, and endurance activities. Thirty constables were selected from a pool of 200 candidates after undergoing rigorous two-month training. Equipped with a distinctive uniform, the armed squad was stationed at various street crossings alongside Quick Response Teams (QRT), ensuring round-the-clock presence throughout the week.

The Kolkata Police launched its ‘Respect Women’ campaign on 5th February 23’, featuring a two-minute video highlighting domestic violence. Renowned actor Mamata Shankar anchored the video, urging victims to seek police assistance by calling the emergency number 100. The campaign, funded under the Nirbhaya Fund, was rolled out across all police social media platforms. In their message, the police emphasised, “Do not suffer in silence; call us on 100. The right to redress is yours.” According to a senior police official, the campaign aimed to address domestic violence openly and ensure victims felt empowered to seek help. This initiative marked the third edition of ‘Respect Women,’ which previously focused on self-defence techniques and women’s safety on the roads.

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How women can seek help!

In Kolkata, women can ensure their safety by taking precautions such as using trusted transportation, staying in well-lit areas, carrying safety devices, and informing trusted contacts of their whereabouts. In cases of domestic violence, seeking help from support services, confiding in trusted individuals, and contacting law enforcement are essential steps. Prioritising physical and emotional well-being, documenting evidence, and staying informed about available resources is crucial for their safety and protection.

By: Ankitaa Bal
From Kolkata
Reporting for ‘True to Life”

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